Nevada's Clark County School Board Retains Opt-In Policy For Sex Education After Headed Debate With Parents
The recent Clark County School Board meeting was packed with parents who expressed their opposition to the planned changes to an opt-in policy for sex education classes. After hours of heated debate, the board decided not to instruct the sex education advisory committee to reconsider the opt-in policy.
The Nevada Legislature mandated all public schools district-wide to require parental consent before any student can join such classes. While some parents favored the planned opt-out approach, majority urged district officials to retain the opt-in policy. The opt-out approach would automatically enroll a public school student in the sex education class, unless the parents object.
The changes, however, can only be implemented when the local school board lobby state lawmakers, according to Grace Smith of Education News.
Nevada, Utah, and Mississippi require parental consent before any student can attend a sex education class. Supporters of the opt-out approach cited data from the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which revealed that Nevada's teen birth rate is about 30.3 births for every 1,000 women between ages 15 and 19. The national average is lower at only 26.5 births for every 1,000 women within the same age group. However, Education News reported that the state rates have dropped by 58 percent between 1991 and 2013.
Most parents who attended the board meeting belonged to the Power2Parent group, which supports the parental right to decide whether their kids should receive sex education. Supporters of the change, such as Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said they believe that the proposal was due to the over 6,000 students who were unable to attend the class because they do not have signed parent consents.
Educators and parents agreed that technology may help solve the issue, Education News reported. Combining classroom- and home-based learning would allow parents and students to take the sex education class together.
Meanwhile, the Clark County School Board approved a change that would add topics, such as sexual cyberbullying and the dangers of sexting, to health education.